A report in the magazine "Mittendrin" of the Spitex by Claudia Weiss from June 2018
On the wall behind Eva Jaisli is a rack filled with tools – screwdrivers, hex keys and multifunctional tools, all neatly arranged by shape and color. The products made by PB Swiss Tools, based in Wasen in Emmental, stand for solid, Swiss craftsmanship, they are accurate, practical and even elegant. That fits in well with Eva Jaisli herself, who took over as CEO in 1997 – the same year that Spitex Bern, a home care provider, was founded.
This gracile 59-year-old is packed with energy and obviously has everything under control. She smiles and her cool blue eyes flash passionately. «I’ve always been creative and love to take on responsibility», she explains. She never found it hard to recognize trends from analyses and generate visions, «and, thankfully, I have been blessed with the energy and health to implement them».
She needed both when she finished her teacher training and went on to study psychology and social work, followed by a master’s degree in business administration and an executive master’s degree in international marketing, while bringing up three daughters and a son “on the side”, as it were, who are now aged 23 to 32. «I just did what I was interested in», she explains. «When the children were still small, I made sure I was always home at the promised time – I feel reliability is just as important in the family as it is in the company.»
It was while she was studying that she realized that women have to work extra hard to be strong. And she has been doing that ever since. In an industrial sector that is dominated by men in the same way home care is dominated by women, she deliberately supports women that she feels have potential. At PB Swiss Tools, a third of all employees are women, in all functions, and have been for years. «Diversity» is Eva Jaisli’s magic spell: «Whether old or young, men or women – mixed teams enable them all to contribute their experience in the most optimal way.»
She is no friend of fixed quotas, but she notices time and again how many women have a unique way of demonstrating economy and effectiveness: «In meetings, they begin to get restless if they notice that there is no progress being made because they cannot afford to let that happen in their fields: they know that there are other tasks waiting for them and automatically allocate their time economically.» Eva Jaisli herself is considered to be a positive example of how to manage a business, in 2017 she was placed third in the women's «entrepreneur of the year» contest.
In her eyes, with responsibility for a company with 160 employees that makes 12 million tools a year, Spitex Bern, with a total of 4800 employees who put in 1.88 million hours of home care every year, «is a highly important economic factor». And this extends far beyond its turnover figures. As an employer, she sees over and over again how important good care is when somebody is ill. «Of course, if someone’s ill, we offer paid care days and direct support when there is a crisis. But when it comes to actual care, we rely on Spitex.»
Eva Jaisli experienced herself how valuable this help is when her father became seriously ill but wanted at all costs to stay in his own home. «Thanks to Spitex, he was able to spend his last days at home, for which we were all very grateful.» After a brief moment’s silence, she continues, and talks about the «steadily increasing importance of the home care sector that combines social capability with economy». As Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Emmental Hospital, she is constantly being reminded of the importance of outpatient follow-up treatment: «When home care providers ensure that patients can be released from hospital quicker, can recover more effectively at home and their family members can return to their work quicker, this is an invaluable economic win-win situation.»
At first sight, one might think the two businesses were almost diametrically opposed but there are clear overlaps in values between PB Swiss Tools and home care organizations. «Continuity and innovation» are crucial to Eva Jaisli: good solutions have to stay good but to make progress you also have to try something new. «That applies to Spitex as well: besides existing tasks, they will always have to deal effectively with new challenges.»
Another key word is quality: in both businesses things can quickly go amiss if some staff do not apply themselves to the tasks with enthusiasm. To enable her staff to do this always, Eva Jaisli places great store by good working conditions, she knows everyone’s name, gets involved in occupational safety, career development, and job satisfaction. «Job satisfaction exists to a greater extent when people have the feeling that they are doing something worthwhile», she feels. She smiles and points out that the staff of home care organizations do not have to look far for meaningfulness.
Eva Jaisli straightens her blazer and sets off for her next appointment, an address she is to make. When speaking in public, she often uses such pithy statements as «commitment to leadership with our hearts and minds» or «balance between success and fulfillment». These might come across as buzz words if she did not take a personal interest on a day-to-day basis in and get involved in everything from A to Z. The tools on the rack behind her are well suited to her. Straightforward, no frills but definitely elegant.